Freedom: Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

You are almost at retirement. You can’t wait! No more getting up at 5:30 or 6:00 am. No more listening to your boss, your direct reports or your customers. No more dealing with people’s problems. No more worrying about the sales figures. Just a few more years to FREEDOM.

Many people figure that it will just be great to get up when they want to, do what they feel like that day or make their hobby into a full-time activity or a business. For some people, that actually does work. However, with a future that now can be as many as 25 to 30 years in retirement, doing what you feel like gets stale quickly. Hobbies are no longer enjoyable because they are something you do occasionally and have become what you do all the time. Unless you are a really imaginative person, what you feel like can become a couch potato and life can become dreary. The spark goes out of life.

One guy I know thought retirement would be great. He would fix things around the house. That was his retirement plan. There were lots of things that he hadn’t got to because they were too big to get done on a weekend or they involved contractors and he didn’t want to spend the money. So, he finished working and started on the house projects. I guess there were a number of things that he had put off because it kept him busy for 9 months and then he was done. What to do now? He had no idea! So, depression took over quickly and he went through 2 agonizing years while he tried to figure out what he would enjoy doing in retirement. With the help of a psychologist who he went to for depression, he finally uncovered his passion for fitness and has become a fitness trainer. How different things would have been for him if he had worked with me or another retirement lifestyle coach and figured that out before he retired. He could have tried it part-time to make sure it was something he would really enjoy and moved into a more robust schedule once he retired.

A woman I talked to had the same “freedom!” approach to retirement and enjoyed her first two months. She slept in, got some reading done, had lunches with friends, did a bit of travel and then woke up one morning and said “the vacation is over, now what?!” She was a good example of how long freedom is satisfying. It may last a little longer than that for some but then people want something meaningful to spend their time on.

What “FREEDOM!” should mean is the opportunity to work on whatever gives your heart joy and makes your soul sing and that usually requires making a contribution or making a difference, following your purpose or getting involved in something you can really love. What you choose doesn’t have to be one thing. In fact, finding a nice balance of things you do for yourself and things you do with or for others makes for a better “FREEDOM!”

What will be your “FREEDOM!”?

And if you need help figuring this all out, I provide retirement lifestyle plan coaching and workshops supported by a guidebook, Switching Gears: Planning the Best Chapter of Your Life©.